Regeneration of a deprived neighborhood in Rotterdam

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This intervention has been translated into a brief governance scenario. Take a look at Nurturing Trust in Community-Driven Regeneration: Continuity amidst Institutional Uncertainty.

You read this description and want to hear more about this case? Get in touch! Contact Franck van Steenbergen for more information.

a) Basic characteristics and ambitions of the intervention

1. What is the name and the urban context (e.g. city/district) of the intervention? Please also indicate the geographical scale of the intervention (e.g. neighborhood, district, small/medium/ capital city, metropolitan area ...). [Example: “Brixton Energy in Brixton, London (neighborhood in capital city)”]

This intervention is called the “Veerkracht Carnisse” or “Resilience Lab” and refers to an urban regeneration experiment within a deprived urban neighborhood. Specifically, iIt takes place in the neighborhood of Carnisse, in the south of Rotterdam (Netherlands).[1]

The intervention consists of the creation and implementation of an Urban Living Lab, which focuses on different projects (education, greening, local democracy) to engage residents, professionals, and policymakers in regenerating this city district. It aims to collectively address the social problems the neighborhood is facing and reinvent the way in which neighborhoods could be redeveloped and regenerated.

2. What sector(s) (alias domain/ policy field) is the intervention primarily implemented in ? [e.g. housing, mobility, energy, water, health, local economy, biodiversity, CC adaptation, etc.]

This intervention is primarily implemented in the sector of urban regeneration.

3. What is the intervention (i.e. situated experiment) aiming to achieve in terms of sustainability and justice? [If possible, please copy from a project website and give a reference]

The intervention seeks to address both sustainability and social justice issues. On the one hand, the intervention “focused on empowering the local community” (i.e. in a “most disadvantaged neighborhood” of Rotterdam) (GUST_05: 1049). On the other hand, it aimed to “foster(ing) urban sustainability and resilience”.

Transition challenges were primarily tied to social justice, that is to say focused on “social cohesion, equity, community engagement/empowerment, and democratic legitimacy” (GUST_06: 202). Classical ecological issues were not really addressed by participants; sustainability was rather framed as “something that is durable, as a desire for consistency over a long period of time” (i.e. it refers to social sustainability and to social networks) (GUST_06: 202). The intervention is driven by the idea of reinventing the ways in which urban regeneration projects are developed and implemented and to make them more inclusive and responsive to the populations’ needs and wishes (interview with F.).

4. What is the interventions’ timeframe?

The Resilience Lab started with a period of concept development and scoping in 2009. It officially started in September 2011 and concluded in September 2015 (4 years) (GUST_05: 1049).

5. By what governance mode is the intervention characterized primarily? (see Appendix 1: Three modes of governance)

The intervention is characterized by a hybrid governance mode that includes the partners of the Resilience Lab (civil society organization, research institute), the municipality, and the local citizens.

6. Why do you consider it worthwhile to study and share experiences made in the context of this governance intervention for sustainable and just cities?[2]

This is a relevant example of governance intervention that addresses the second order of learning, i.e. aiming to structurally change the governance arrangements in urban regeneration projects (interview with F.).

7. In which project deliverable(s) or other documents can information be found on this situated (i.e. place specific) governance intervention?

  • GUST_05_Frantzeskaki_Lab Rotterdam
  • add to GUST_(InContext) Wittmayer and al. Transition Management in Urban Neighborhood
  • Interview with F., researcher, (16.06.20)

b) Additional basic characteristics, links to earlier UrbanA work

8. EU Project-context of the intervention:

  • a. Has the intervention been developed or studied in the context of an (EU-funded?) project? (please name the project, its duration and include a link to the project website here).

The intervention has been developed and primarily funded by the Dutch Ministry within the framework of a national program aiming to regenerate deprived neighborhoods in the south of Rotterdam. The project was developed by a consortium of four partners (see Q. 10). One of them, the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT) related the intervention to the EU-funded project InContext (2010-13) (not included in UrbanA WP4 database). Incontext investigates the conditions for creating sustainability transitions at the local and individual levels. Carnisse neighborhood was the 1st pilot project of InContext.[3]

In addition, the GUST project (2014-17 - Governance for Urban Sustainability Transitions)[4] enabled this same partner to conduct an impact assessment and an evaluation of all the activities done in the Resilience Lab. As as a part of the Joint Programming Instrument Urban Europe, GUST aimed to examine, inform, and advance the governance of sustainability transitions through Urban Living Labs (ULLs). ULLs serve as a means for testing innovations (in buildings, transport and energy systems) and for providing economic stability and social cohesion while achieving urban sustainability.

  • b. According to WP3’s database of approaches, which approach(es) does the intervention best fit under? Where applicable, please indicate if the intervention is found in a project that has been explicitly mentioned in the database.

The intervention best fits under the Experimentation labs approach. The overall project - GUST - is explicitly mentioned in the database: “The GUST project offers a number of illustrative examples where urban living labs of collaboration and innovation have been formed”. However, the intervention itself is not mentioned.

  • c. Have some project deliverables been coded in the context of UrbanA’s WP4?

Five project deliverables have been coded in the context of UrbanA’s WP4 including GUST_05_Frantzeskaki_Lab Rotterdam (available in the Zotero library) that refers to the intervention.

9. Problematization and priority:

  • a. How exactly has inequality and exclusion been problematized (by whom) in the context of this intervention?

Carnisse neighborhood is known for being among one of the forty “disadvantaged neighborhoods” in the Netherlands (according to the Ministry of Housing 2007) (GUST_05: 1048). The neighborhood is poorly scored in terms of safety, social cohesion, and housing (according to different municipal indexes). The partners involved in the intervention (see Q.10) “identified and encountered (in the neighborhood) persistent problems in different societal systems (e.g. education, welfare, healthcare and food)” (GUST_05: 1049).

  • b. Has the achievement of justice explicitly been named as a major motivation behind the intervention?

The achievement of social justice is implicitly a major motivation behind the intervention. Even though the terms of “social justice” is not mentioned, the “Resilience Lab” explicitly focused on activity related to “poverty reduction, the upbringing of children, and democratic reform for local development programs” (GUST_05: 1049). In addition, the intervention aims to develop non-tokenistic participatory processes that are related to social justice (interview with F.).

Drivers of injustices Based on WP4 coding Based on own assessment
1. Exclusive access to the benefits of sustainability infrastructure X
2. Material and livelihood inequalities X
3. Racialized or ethnically exclusionary urbanization
4. Uneven and exclusionary urban intensification and regeneration X
5. Uneven environmental health and pollution patterns
6. Unfit institutional structures
7. Limited citizen participation in urban planning X
8. Lack of effective knowledge brokerage and stewardship opportunities X
9. Unquestioned Neoliberal growth and austerity urbanism
10. Weak(ened) civil society X

c) Actor constellations

10. Who initiated the intervention?

The Resilience Lab was initiated by a consortium of four project partners including the Rotterdam Vakmanstad, Creatief Beheer, Bureau Frontlijn, and the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT). The first three are local civil society organizations/associations involved in community building projects in other neighborhoods of Rotterdam. The fourth is a “research institute where several action researchers were active in Carnisse” (GUST_05: 1049). This consortium developed the Resilience Lab as a whole and each partner was responsible for one “interactive field” within it, including “improving residents’ home situation”, “education at school” and “greening the public space" (interview with F.).

11. Who are the envisioned benefiters of the intervention? (both at a local level and higher, if applicable)

The direct benefits of the intervention are the residents of the district. Indeed the “target groups of the Resilience Lab included primarily children (aged 4–12 years), their families, schools (board, teachers, and parents), and residents or volunteers actively involved in community life”. Also included were the networks in Carnisse and Charlois consisting of professionals, civil servants, social workers, and entrepreneurs” (GUST_05: 1050).

Scaling up, the intervention aims to benefit the municipality of Rotterdam because it consists of experimenting with a new form of transition management in an urban regeneration context that can be later transferred to other neighborhoods (upscaling).

12. Who else is (going to be) involved in the intervention, and what was/is their main role?

Actor types[5] Yes Actor name and role[6]
Academic organizations X (initiator/project leaders) DRIFT

researchers and associated

Religious organizations
Civil society organizations X (indicators/project leaders) Bureau Frontlijn, Creatief Beheer, Rotterdam Vakmanstad
Hybrid/ 3rd sector organizations
Social movements
Political parties
Social entreprises X a foundation responsible for the ‘re-opened’ community-center.
For profit entreprises
Local/regional government X The municipality of Rotterdam

different sub-department of the Municipality of Rotterdam

Regional organizations
National government X (co-funders) the Dutch government
Supranational government
International networks
Other initiatives X Welfare organizations

Housing associations

13. Which particular interactions among various stakeholders (stakeholder configurations) were crucial in enabling the intervention to emerge successfully? This could include direct or indirect impacts on interventions.

The intervention was made possible by the freedom given by the municipality to the consortium to implement the project. In a context of turbulences in local institutional settings (regarding municipal structures and competences), the consortium was given a “carte blanche” for developing and experimenting the Resilience Lab. Whereas most funded projects are predefined and have to follow a pre-established framework, the freedom given to the consortium partners enabled them to progressively develop and adapt their methodology to the local context. This freedom was crucial to the success of the Reliance Lab.

14. To what extent, in what form and at what stages have citizens participated in the shaping of the intervention?

The citizens (i.e. actors including residents as well as other people working or connected to the district) engaged with the intervention by developing a vision or “narrative of place” about transition pathways for the future of the district; by establishing an agenda for transformative and experimental actions (GUST_5: 1053); or by participating directly in the activities of the Resilience Lab.

These two levels of citizens’ engagement i.e. deliberating about the vision of the neighborhood and joining the activities of the Resilience Lab were complementary.

15. How are responsibilities and/or decision-making power distributed among actors?

The consortium partners of the Resilience Lab were the drivers of the project. They first framed the intervention and proposed tools for engaging citizens (i.e. community areas, activities). The citizens engaged in the Resilience Lab by developing the vision of the neighborhood as well as participating in activities. In other words, the four partners were the drivers and facilitators of the projects, while the citizens participated in shaping the intervention and orienting its outcomes. Over time, citizens' roles and responsibilities grew bigger since the project developed according to their wishes and needs. For instance, citizens were the drivers of the creation of the community gardens and the community center (GUST_05: 1054).

16. Exclusion:

  • a. Which stakeholders or social groups were excluded (at which stages)?

The methodology and activities for the transition management approach were focused on abstract discussion and meta-level questions about the vision of the neighborhood. Thus it targeted people who were more accustomed to such deliberative settings. In addition, the methodology for the visioning aspect of the Resilience Lab works with selective participation and targets 20 to 30 front runners of the neighborhood (interview with F.). In that sense, it was rather exclusive to people who were not familiar with such settings, including people facing language barriers, newcomers, and young people (below 20 years old (GUST_06: 193). Some did try to participate the deliberative arena but attended only in a few workshops and acted mostly as observers.

  • b. Is there any indication why this may have happened? With what outcomes? Has anything been done to overcome such exclusions?

To balance this exclusivity, the consortium partner tried to engage people in practical activities which proved to be more inclusive than discussing the neighborhood. Indeed people joining the activities in the community center or garden were more diverse in terms of ethnicity, languages, and age difference. This "hands on" mentality proved to be very rewarding for the people who live and work in Carnisse (interview with F.)

d) Enabling conditions for the implementation of the intervention

17. What circumstances or events are reported to have triggered the intervention? (In what ways?)

The Carnisse neighborhood had been identified as an area that needed to be regenerated (due to persistent social problems). Whereas typical regeneration strategies include demolishing aged public housing and a top-down re-development approach, the municipality agreed on experimenting new forms of urban regeneration in the neighborhood. The Resilience Lab - suggested by the consortium partners (see Q.10) - was a “test bed for new methodologies and innovative practices” (GUST_05: 1050).

In addition, overall design of the project (i.e. participatory, involving the local community) matches with the context of a new national neighborhood approach in which “citizens should be more active in addressing and solving problems in their living environment” (GUST_05: 1048). Thus, it was favorably appreciated by the local government to give lots of freedom to the leading partners for implementing the Resilience Lab.

18. Are particular substantive (multi-level) governmental policies considered to be highly influential in the genesis and shaping of the intervention? (If easily possible, please specify the policy, the policy field and the governance level mainly addressed, and characterize it along Appendix 2: Policy typology)

The current neighborhood approach of the ministry of Internal Affairs in the Netherlands reconceptualizes the role of inhabitants and citizens to be responsible in a far greater extent for addressing issues related to their living environment: “a revised role for the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations in the 40-Neighbourhood-Programme. They describe this change as follows: “from active financial commitment linked with targets to a more facilitative role, acting on request in relation to what others do” (Ministerie BZK 2014: 2)” (GUST_06: 1880).

19. What constitutional responsibilities and rules does the intervention build upon? In other words, what rights, powers, and/or responsibilities, does the country's constitution (in a broad sense) award municipalities, states, utilities, NGOs, citizens etc. and how does this impact the intervention?

The Resilience Lab was developed in a context of changing institutional settings including the municipal centralization of sub-municipal departments (which were dismantled) and at the same time the decentralization of national policies of social welfare to local municipalities (interview with F.). It means that the municipality of Rotterdam was in charge of extra tasks related to the welfare and well-being of Rotterdam citizens.

20. According to project material/and or interviews, in what ways have particularities of (local) political culture influenced the character and success of the intervention? (i.e. trust in political institutions, citizens’ will to interact with policy makers and vice versa, traditions of cooperation etc.)

The project material points out that a new trend of the political culture, emphasizing the role of citizens in addressing local issues, influenced the intervention. Indeed, the Resilience Lab took place in the context of withdrawal of the state welfare structures and financial support by redirecting the responsibility to the local inhabitants and citizens. In that sense, the Resilience Lab is a solution given the context of a required “participatory society” (GUST_06: 188).

21. What are financial arrangements that support the intervention?

The main transition management in Carnisse’s neighborhood was funded by the Dutch Ministry under a national program for urban regeneration in Rotterdam-South (GUST_06: 190)n. The development of the transition methodology by DRIFT (one partner) was funded by the EU-project InContext, and the assessment and evaluation of the overall intervention that DRIFT conducted was funded by the EU-project GUST (see Q. 8.a).

22. Have any of the above conditions changed within the intervention’s timeframe, which have (significantly) influenced it in a positive or negative way?

The institutional settings were very turbulent over the course of the intervention and the governmental policies and constitutional settings detailed above(see Q.18 -Q.19) were progressively set-up at that time.

Note: Certain contexts, which provide opportunities to learn from other relevant experiences, may also be a supportive framework condition. Please see section h, questions 26 + 30 on learning context.

e) Obstacles to successful intervention implementation

23. What obstacles to implementing the intervention (both generally, and in this particular context) have been identified, relating to:

  • a. Regulatory framework

Turbulences and changes in the institutional settings (i.e. regarding the competences of the municipality and welfare structures) were an obstacle to implementing the intervention (GUST_05: 1050). While the sub-municipality to which Carnisse belonged was dismantled and budget cuts were made to social support, the project partners navigated without grasping these new settings. The consortium did not manage to establish a durable relationship with other actors, from the municipality to housing associations and welfare organizations, because the contact people changed every year (interview with F.)

The constantly changing institutional settings created a lot of ambiguity and insecurity about future processes. It constrained people in engaging in a participatory process while not being sure on how everything would be arranged in the following years (interview with F.).

  • b. Legitimacy

The intervention faced obstacles prior to its implementation. Before it started, the project faced distrust from some residents towards these kinds of projects which have the “tendency to portray the neighborhood as a disadvantage, an image which frustrated many locals and in which they did not recognize themselves” (GUST_05: 1050).

In addition, another challenge was the relative skepticism from both the residents and the municipality about the “relative openness of both the process and the outcomes” of the living lab. They were doubting the urban living lab could effectively address the problems the neighborhood was facing.

  • c. Public awareness

There is high residential mobility and turnover in Carnisse, as it is considered as an “arrival” neighborhood. Many newcomers, especially young and less educated workers, move in as they arrive in the city and move out as soon as they can afford to live in a better district (InContext). As a consequence, the short-term residents are not necessarily aware about the local projects.

  • d. Finances

It was challenging to start the intervention because it took place in a context of “budget cuts” from the municipality and general public subsidies for social intervention (i.e. the context of the erosion of old welfare structure) (GUST_05: 1050).

  • e. Others (please name)

The participatory and deliberative aspect of the resilience Lab were not very inclusive (see Q. 16).

f) (Institutional) Work done to overcome obstacles

24. What has been done by each central actor group to overcome which particular obstacles in the way of successfully implementing the intervention? (this may include institutional Work - maintaining, disrupting, and creating new rules, applying to both formal laws/regulations and informal norms and expectations.)

Name of obstacle What work was/is being done to overcome this obstacle and by what actor groups?
Turbulences in institutional settings To overcome these turbulences, the consortium partners tried to work qui autonomously from these formal institutions. This found to be quite fruitful for the success of the Resilience Lab, as they could experiment with activities on the ground and really engage with the people of Carnisse free from institutional constraints. However, this autonomy hammered the more durable impact of the Resilience Lab in the municipal agenda (see Q. 36).
Skepticism of the residents and the municipality The project leaders. To address the skepticism of the residents and the municipality about the process and the outcomes of the project (is it worth it or not?), the Resilience Lab had to “prove [...] the benefits from being involved in it”, “this required a deep study of the dynamics of the neighborhood, building networks based on reciprocity and gaining trust over time by showing results that benefited the local community” (GUST_05: 1050).
Budget cuts in social welfare The consortium partner DRIFT used other fundings including two Eu-projects Incontext and Gust.
Lack of inclusivity The “practical” and “hands on” activities of the Resilience Lab allowed more diverse people to engage in the project and made it more inclusive (see Q. 16).

g) Reported outcomes

25. What are reported outcomes of the intervention? This may include economic outcomes, political outcomes, ability to reach sustainability and justice targets, etc.

The outcomes of the intervention are:

  • New social relations established within the neighborhood between citizens and some policy makers, and also between residents themselves. The participatory activities and tools used in the framework of the Resilience Lab increased interaction between different social groups (GUST_05: 1059). It enhanced trust and contributed to community building (although one of the problems in the district was the lack of community).
  • Opening of the neighborhood: people living outside of the neighborhood took part in the Resilience Lab, thus increasing its openness and enhancing networks and relationships outside of the administrative boundaries of Carnisse (GUST_05: 1052).
  • Citizens empowerment: the narrative “blossoming Carnisse” (GUST_05: 1053) developed in the deliberative workshops and empowered citizens because it gave them the opportunity to express their aspirations (what to they want for their neighborhood) and express their legitimate criticisms to the current dynamic of the place (e.g. the severe budget cuts that let to the closure of public facilities, such as two community centers and an educational garden). Over time, the citizens became almost fully responsible for the community center and the community garden.
  • The identification of the residents/citizens with their neighborhood (i.e. the creation of a symbolic “sense of place”) although prior to the Resilience Lab, many did not feel connected to the neighborhood in terms of “shared meaning and experience” (GUST_05: 1053).
  • the success of the “collaborative governance” (i.e. between policy makers and citizens). This demonstrates that reciprocity and institutional connection are key for escaping stigmatization of the place and its people (GUST_05: 1053).

h) Learning involved in establishing the intervention

Please fill in any information on social learning that has occured in this intervention (conceptualized here as “Learning context, content, and process” in line with the FOODLINKS project)[7]. Where possible, please differentiate your response into learning done by specific actor groups.

Learning context

(i.e. the configuration and social environment enabling the learning process)

26. According to the TRANSIT project’s four mechanisms for empowerment – i. funding; ii. legitimacy; iii. knowledge sharing, learning, and peer support; or iv. visibility and identity – please briefly describe the following, and indicate where the intervention has been developed or supported as part of which formal collaborations, networks or projects:

  • a. any previous experiences in the same urban context (e.g. city…) that the intervention is (reportedly) building upon? This could include any relevant experiences in the same or another sector.

The four consortium partners “had been involved and worked in their respective domains (i.e. social work, education) in other neighborhoods of Rotterdam south” (add to GUST: 190). Thus, the partners have brought their own experience and set of approaches and activities to the framework of the Resilience Lab.

  • b. any inter-city partnerships, or transfers from experiences elsewhere that have (reportedly) been important in the emergence of this intervention?

Not reportedly. However, one of the consortium partners, DRIFT, had previously experienced some transition management strategies in the sectors of housing and mobility in other urban contexts, which have been translated to the neighborhood scale for Carnisse (interview with F.).

Learning content

27. Has any acquired knowledge (e.g. technical knowledge, awareness of local political procedures etc.) been reported as particularly helpful to this intervention?

  • a. from previous experiences in the same urban context

The Resilience Lab is is experimental and not explicitly built upon another intervention. However, the methodology developed for transition management was influenced by previous work carried out by the consortium partners. The project started with a vision translated into a set of principles to be developed in practice (interview with F.). This methodology was the overarching umbrella under which the activities were created. The partners have already experimented some of these activities in other neighborhoods of Rotterdam-South (GUST_05: 1049) but adapted them to the local context e.g. in the sector of education or greening the public space.

  • b. from inter-city partnerships, or transfers from experiences elsewhere

The partner DRIFT had already experienced transition management strategies in the energy or mobility sector. The methodology they had previously developed was translated and adapted to urban regeneration at the scale of a neighborhood (Interview with F.).

  • c. from other knowledge gathering/research

Since the Resilience Lab was incorporated into other EU-projects on transition management, especially Incontext, some learning may have been disseminated, especially based in the case of the other pilot projects, such as the city of Wolfhagen, Germany, and the village of Finkenstein in Austria.[8]

Learning process

28. In what ways has the intervention been adapted to specific circumstances of the targeted urban context based on the learned content reported in question 27?

The intervention started from an abstract vision, a methodology, and a set of activities already experienced in other contexts. The practical dimension of the intervention was not set in stone and developed over the course of the project to make it context specific (i.e. depending on the need, wishes of the residents as well as facing local constraints). To sum up, it is an intervention that learnt from itself in the process of implementing it.

29. Based on your answers to question 24, how has overcoming obstacles (reportedly) contributed to the learning process?

Overcoming obstacles contributed to the learning process, especially in regards the exclusive dimension of the project. The consortium partner found out that engaging citizens in a deliberation process can be quite exclusive whereas “hands on” and practical activities (i.e. in the community center or the community gardens) are far more inclusive. This learning allowed them to combine these two aspects of the participation (Interview with F.)

30. Please list any tools that enabled the learning process (e.g. various Knowledge Brokerage Activities from pg. 24 of FOODLINK’s Deliverable 7.1 - linked in footnote)[9] and the actors involved in using them.

  • Guidance tool for self-organization developed by DRIFT
  • In the framework of InContext: “Community Arena” for transition management include the processes of envisioning, backcasting, experimenting, self-reflection, and learning

i) Learning involved in establishing interventions elsewhere (transferability)

31. Suggestions regarding transferability.

  • a. Have any suggestions been made about a replicability, scaleability or transferability of the intervention? [e.g. in the documentation of the intervention in a project or the press? Links would be perfect]

The project aims to be transferable. The idea was to identify, “new ways of neighborhood development” (GUST_05: 1055) and reinvent integrative methods for neighborhood redevelopment that could be adapted to different contexts. The overarching umbrella and set of principles for transition management would remain while the different activities within the Resilience Lab would be context specific (interview with F.).

  • b. Transferability to what kind of contexts has been suggested?

The principles and methodology for neighborhood transition management (i.e. the Resilience Lab as a whole) can be transferred to any other context. However the activities within it should not be pre-determined and have to be adapted to the local context. It means that vision and basic principles of the Resilience Lab can be transferred but the actual implementation would differ in every neighborhood. (interview with F.).

  • c. Who has made the claims?

Researchers and project managers.

  • d. What limits to transferability to broader contexts have been discussed?

The limit to transferability would not take the Resilience Lab as an integrative project, rather to replicate the different activities within it e.g. related to education, green space etc.. Lacking an overarching and integrated vision of neighborhood transition management would limit the success of such intervention (Interview with F.).

32. In what forms has the learning process, including stories of overcoming obstacles, been recorded for, and/or made accessible to city makers also from elsewhere?[10]

The project has been disseminated.

33. Have any signs of collaboration, support, or inspiration already been reported between actors involved in this intervention and others that follow its example? (e.g. in “follower cities”?)

The Resilience Lab as a whole has not been replicated in other contexts. However, the different activities developed by the consortium partners (including educational tools for schools or arrangement of the public space) have been transferred and implemented in other districts in Rotterdam and in cities in the Netherlands. The residents also replicated some activities such as the community garden after the first one has been closed by the municipality (interview with F.).

Based on the experience of Carnisse, the notion of "self-sustained community center" is also being replicated by the municipality in some other neighborhoods in Rotterdam under the name "Houses for the neighborhood” (interview with F.) . In 2013-14, a local policy established that every neighborhood should have a community center in which the desires and needs of citizens are central and where the community takes an active role in sustaining the center. These “Houses for the neighborhood” are a sort of replication of the community center in Carnisse, but are mainly led by municipality structures together with welfare organizations. Some are developed elsewhere in the Netherlands.

j) Structural learning

34. Has the intervention influenced higher-level governance arrangements such that sustainability and justice are considered (together) in a more durable, structural way? In other words, are there any observations about more structural, long-term changes as a result of the intervention?

  • For example: new programs run by local councils, new modes of citizen participation, new mediating bodies
  • Is there other evidence that the project has contributed to enhancing sustainable and just governance in cities in a general sense?

Yes, the project was mainly aimed at restructuring the governance arrangements. Whereas the municipality and other dominant stakeholders like the housing associations or welfare organizations were very dominant in the previous years, the Resilience Lab was explicitly aimed at breaking the dominant structure and actors who governed neighborhood development. The Resilience Lab tried to work instead in more in a co-creative manner and meaningfully involve residents and all kind resident groups in impacting- their neighborhood. Changing the governance arrangements was a really strong ambition of the intervention (interview with F.).

However, this ambition faced two obstacles and turned out to be quite limited. First, in the context of institutional turbulences, the consortium partners decided to develop the project quite autonomously from the municipality (see Q. 24). As a consequence, they could not really connect with the municipality and share the learning from that intervention. Whereas some civil servants learnt from the intervention, they did it at a personal level and not at the structural level of the institution. Second, the fragmented replication of Resilience Lab (see Q.33) rather than its integrated vision rather hampered impact in structurally changing the governance settings (interview with F.).

k) Reflections on important governance concepts

35. What other aspects of governance, that were not covered above, are important to highlight, too?


36. From your perspective as a researcher, which word or phrase characterizes this governance intervention most concisely? (Please attach your name to the characterization) In other words, what is the biggest takeaway from this intervention about governance arrangements?

The biggest takeaway from such a Resilience Lab or neighborhood redevelopment is to aim to the autonomy and sovereignty of the residents and the people involved. Such interventions have to be context specific, have a sense of freedom in developing your activities in practices to support learning by doing (interview with F.).

Have questions or comments? Contact information regarding this case can be found at the top of this page!

Appendix 1: Three modes of governance

(from NATURVATION project)

NATURVATION's NBS-Atlas distinguishes three categories of governance arrangements (dubbed "management set-ups":

  • Government-led (Gov)
  • Co-governance or hybrid governance (mix of responsibilities between government and non-government actors) (c/h)
  • Led by non-government actors (NGO)

Alternatively or additionally, the following four modes of governing (as distinguished also by Bulkeley/Kern 2006 and Zvolska et al. 2019) could be used as a typology: Castan Broto/ Bulkeley 2013:95

  1. Self-governing, intervening in the management of local authority operations to ‘‘lead by example’’;
  2. Provision, greening infrastructure and consumer services provided by different authorities;
  3. Regulations, enforcing new laws, planning regulations, building codes, etc.; and
  4. Enabling, supporting initiatives led by other actors through information and resource provision and partnerships”

Appendix 2: Policy typology

(from NATURVATION project)

Policy typology Description Examples
Regulatory (administrative, command-and-control) Mandatory fulfillment of certain requirements by targeted actors Legislations, regulations, laws, directives, etc.
Economic (financial, market-based) Financial (dis)incentives to trigger change by providing (new) favourable (or unfavourable) economic conditions for targeted actors Positive incentive include subsidies, soft loans, tax allowance and procurments. Negative incentives are taxes, fees and charges.
Informative (educational) They aim at providing information or knowledge to target actors in order to increase awareness and support informed decision-making accomplish or prevent social change Information and awareness raising campaigns, informative leaflets, advertisements in different media.
Voluntary Commitment and/or actions beyond legal requirements, undertaken by private actors and/or non-governmental organisations. Voluntary actions and agreements.

test tableau

  1. Resilience Lab website. Last view on 26/06/20:
  2. Background to this question: Our four main criteria for selecting particular governance interventions and develop rich descriptions of them were: A) The intervention has been studied in a specific urban context (e.g. city), B) this context is located in Europe (and, preferably, the study was EU-funded), C) the intervention considers to a large extent sustainability AND justice (at least implicitly), and D) it is well-documented, ideally including assumptions or even critical reflections on enablers and barriers to implementation and on transferability (i.e. ‘de-contextualizability’). Additionally, we aimed at a diverse portfolio of domains (see Q2.) and governance modes (see Q5):
  3. InContext website. Last view on 26/06/20: .
  4. GUST website. Last view on 26/06/20:
  5. Actor types according to TRANSIT’s Critical Turning Point Database,
  6. If easily possible mention sources for your association of roles.
  7. Deliverable 7.1 Synthesis Report on results from Monitoring and Evaluation (p.14) : .
  8. InContext website. Last view on 06/05/20): :
  9. .
  10. Feel free to include learning that has been made available through EU project documentation, intervention initiatives, or other channels. In addition to the forms in which the learning process has been shared with others, please indicate whether the learning process that’s being shared has been recorded in a self-critical/reflexive way.